The return of Miesha Tate is the big story at UFC on ESPN 26 from the Apex training facility on the south side of Las Vegas, Nevada. She will take on Marion Reneau in what has become a co-main event of sorts on the card headlined by Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises.
While the Makhachev-Moises fight draws the billing for the event name, Tate’s return and the impending retirement of Reneau are much bigger storylines.
All in all, this is a tough card to get excited about, especially with a -670 favorite in the main event according to the odds at BetRivers Sportsbook. Makhachev is a huge favorite to improve to 20-1 with a win of Moises.
There are some other fights on the card with more intrigue and better betting opportunities, which is what can make even a dull card a whole more entertaining.
Also entertaining is the chance to get a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 from BetRivers Sportsbook. With football season just around the corner, scooping up as many outs as possible to shop around for the best numbers is essential, so now is an excellent time to sign up at BetRivers.
UFC on ESPN 26 Odds: Makhachev (-670) vs. Moises (+450)
Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises meet in the main event of the Saturday July 17 fight card at the UFC Apex. As the odds show, Makhachev is a huge favorite to win the fight. His only loss came back on October 3, 2015 to Adriano Martins at UFC 192 when he was caught by a perfect strike. Otherwise, we could be talking about a perfect record for Makhachev, who is 7-0 since with four decision wins, two submission wins, and a knockout.
Thiago Moises was the champion in RFA and had a title shot in LFA before making his one and only Dana White Contender Series appearance. He won that and promptly lost to Beneil Dariush in his first fight under contract. Since then, he is 4-1 in UFC.
The over/under is set at 4.5 with the championship rounds activated in the main event, but it will be interesting to see if we get there. Moises got there in his RFA and LFA title fights, but those were 4-5 years ago. “No” on the fight going the distance is +110 and the under on 4.5 rounds is +120.
It could end late in those important final 90 seconds, so we’ll take No at +110 and look for a finish one way or the other.
Pick: Fight Will NOT Go The Distance (+110)
Miesha Tate Returns at UFC on ESPN 26!
Miesha Tate last fought in the UFC on November 12, 2016. What does it say about Marion Reneau that Tate is a -141 favorite per the odds at BetRivers? The 44-year-old Reneau has lost four in a row and will retire after this fight. Tate was thought to have been retired, but she couldn’t stay away. She has a prominent job with ONE Championship overseas, so this doesn’t seem to be about the money.
We’ve seen fighters come back when they get down on their luck or need an infusion of cash. Tate doesn’t appear to be doing this for the money, though that is a nice benefit. She’ll turn 35 next month, so she isn’t over-the-hill by fight standards, though we could certainly argue that her opponent is.
Tate’s gas tank and cardio are the big worries here. Each of the last five fights for Reneau has gone the distance and she has never lost by stoppage. It seems unlikely that Tate would be the first to do it with such a long layoff. Reneau’s best hope is for Tate to tire out, but the older fighter has not been a big factor in the third round, so even a lesser round from Tate probably won’t be enough.
Pick: Miesha Tate
UFC on ESPN 26 Best Bets
Hopping around the card, there are some good betting opportunities for UFC on ESPN 26.
Mateusz Gamrot (-225) is a big favorite against Jeremy Stephens (+175) for this fight on Saturday night. Gamrot has 10 stoppage wins out of his 18, but has gone over 2.5 rounds in four of his last five fights. Say what you will about Stephens, whose UFC career is coming to a disappointing end with four straight losses, but the 35-year-old should be able to go the distance with Gamrot here.
Stephens by decision pays +450. Gamrot by decision pays +175. That looks like the most likely outcome.
Pick: Gamrot by Decision
Sergey Morozov (+122) looks to be a little undervalued here against Khalid Taha (-157). Morozov’s last fight, which was admittedly a dud against Umar Nurmagomedov, was his UFC debut and his first fight in 13 months. This is a much more traditional layoff and fight camp for the prospect. Taha is only 1-2 in the UFC and we haven’t seen a ton of striking power from him in his four fights. The other was ruled a No Contest that resulted in a long suspension.
Morozov is a very live underdog here.